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History of Reykjavík

Ingólfur Arnarson, who is considered the first settler of Iceland, settled in Iceland in 870, it is believed and named the place Reykjavík, where the city now stands. Recent archaeological finds in the centre of Reykjavík, especially in Aðalstræti, Suðurgata, Kirkjustræti, and Lækjargata, point to the same thing, and human remains have been found since around 870.

Over time, more farms were built around them, most notably Laugarnes and Nes by Seltjörn. In 1226, settlement began on Viðey when monks of the Augustinian order established a monastery there.


Gamla rvk


Víkurkirkja stood by Reykjavík town at least from 1200. Urban settlements did not begin to form in Reykjavík until the 18th century, but until then farms of various sizes were scattered throughout the area where the city now stands. In the 18th century, an attempt was made to run a wool industry in Reykjavík called Innréttingarnar, and this marked a turning point in the development of the area, which subsequently began to take on some village image. Sixteen houses were built in Reykjavík due to the wool industry, which was a high increase at that time, and the signs of two of them can still be seen today.

The country's first prison was built in the years 1761-71, a stately stone house, which today houses the Government of Iceland at Lækjargata. The Reykjavík Cathedral was consecrated in 1796 and was the first building to be built especially with the intention of making Reykjavík the capital of the country. Reykjavík was granted town rights in 1786, following the abolition of the monopoly store in the country, and the same year Hólavallaskóli school was established there. The directive from 1786 granted six trading places in Iceland town rights and stated that town residents had the right to request a coat of arms and a place seal. One of these places was Reykjavík.




These township rights lasted until 1836 when a directive was issued stating that Reykjavík was the only town, while other places were authorized trading places. From the year 1815, Reykjavík has a seal that shows a standing fisherman, a boat, and flatfish. The seal was the logo of Reykjavík until 1957 when the current logo was introduced. The logo of the City of Reykjavík shows Ingólfur Arnarson's white pillars of excellence and waves on a blue background and gothic shields. It was drawn by Halldór Pétursson, an artist.

In the nineteenth century, dense clusters of small houses or fishermen's huts formed in the town. Alþingi was rebuilt in Reykjavík in 1845. In 1846, Reykjavík High School was moved from Bessastaðir to the city centre. In 1881, the Alþingishúsið was taken into use. The Naval Academy began operations in 1891 after deck ships had arrived in the country. In 1898, Miðbæjarskólinn by Tjarnargata was completed. However, it was not taken into use until the autumn of 1908, when almost three hundred primary school children began their studies there.




The University of Iceland was founded on June 17, 1911, on the centenary of Jón Sigurðsson, and for the first 29 years, it was housed in the Alþingishúsið by Austurvöllur. When the University of Iceland was founded, the School of Priests, the School of Medicine, and the School of Law were merged and each formed its own faculty, in addition to which a philosophy faculty was added. Vatnsveita Reykjavíkur began operations in 1909. The Reykjavík gas station at Hlemmur was taken into use in 1910. The gas station operated until 1956. The ports of Reykjavík were built in stages in the years 1913-17 and greatly improved ship facilities.

Elliðaárvirkjun was built in 1921 to supply the rapidly expanding city with electricity. In 1928, the first district heating well was drilled at Þvottalaugarnar, which had been used for decades for washing. During drilling, the water flow to the surface increased, 14 l / sec of 87 ° C hot water. The water was led about three km to Sundhöllinn swimming pool, Austurbæjarskóli school, Landsspítali hospital and 60 houses nearby. In March 1937, Reykjavík Swimming Hall was inaugurated and it was the town's first swimming pool. The first mayor of Reykjavík, Páll Einarsson, took office in 1908 and the first women to sit on the municipal council in Iceland were elected by women's candidates who ran in the Reykjavík municipal elections in January 1908. Here are just a few of the highlights of the city's history. The city of Reykjavík is 234 years old today and has grown and prospered in line with the spirit of the times and is today the capital of Iceland and the most populous municipality in the country. Thus, Reykjavík is the economic, cultural, and political centre of the country. 136,764 people live in Reykjavík but the population of the capital area is 233,944 in 7 municipalities.

More History:
National Museum
The National Museum on the outside

The National Museum displays objects that provide insight into Icelandic cultural history - displays that encourage visitors to dwell on the past, present and future. The museum aims to nurture knowledge and innovation while maintaining a wide perspective and sense of community.

Árbær Open Air Museum
Woman wearing Icelandic national costume

Árbær Open Air Museum tries to give a sense of the architecture and way of life and lifestyles of the past  in Reykjavík and during summer visitors can see domestic animals.

Hafnarfjörður Museum - tale of old times
Hafnarfjörður museum on the outside

Hafnarfjörður Museum is a museum of cultural artefacts and photographs of Hafnarfjörður town. Its objective is to collect, document, preserve, protect and study objects and artefacts of the region’s cultural history and present them to the public